Matchday 14 started Saturday midday with top spot up for grabs, and it was Conte and Chelsea who emerged victorious over Pep and City. There were otherwise mixed results for the leading teams, whilst teams lower down, including Crystal Palace, Sunderland and, significantly, Bournemouth, grabbed three valuable points each.
Tottenham could not have had an easier game with which to recover from the tough defeat against Chelsea last weekend. Swansea were the visiting team and managed to contain Spurs for a good while, before eventually cracking under an egregious dive by Dele Alli and a converted penalty from Harry Kane. Heung-Min Son, whom this writer coveted greatly as a potential André Schürrle replacement, then scored a screamer on the stroke of half time with a sumptuous volley, struck by a falling technique in which Demba Ba himself would take pride. The floodgates opened in the second half as Son and Kane further dismantled the Swans to the tune of five-nil.
Spurs will have a tougher task next week as they travel to Manchester United. Both teams will have European commitments to deal with in the meantime as well.
West Ham have had a terrible season so far, dropping out of European football at the first hurdle and hovering just above the relegation zone since the start of the season. Their move to a new home stadium was expected to provide motivation to step up a level, not the other way round.
At least for Slaven Bilic, West Ham tend turn up for the big games and he would’ve needed no extra motivational speeches to get his team inspired for a London derby against Arsenal. Unfortunately for them, Alexis Sanchez is in irrepressible form. Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added goals alongside Alexis’s hat-trick in the 5-1 humbling of the Hammer that vaulted Arsenal into second spot.
Alexis is an early front-runner for the Player of the Year award as he carries the rest of Arsenal higher up the table.
#arsenal Sanchez is easily worth £300k a week. The man never stops running, whether he's having a great game or not. Extend his contract!— The Divine Beard (@Pier147) December 3, 2016
If Sanchez wants to live in the Buckingham Palace as part of his new contract, AFC should make it happen. No stories.— Billionaire Ify. (@ify_zoe) December 3, 2016
Further humor was to be found thanks to Liverpool on Sunday.
Klopp’s charges started their match against Bournemouth in a fashion that made it quite clear that victory was only a matter of time; add in Cherries’ goalkeeper Artur Boruc’s ... adventures ... and the only question that seemed to be up for debate was just by how much the Reds would win at the end. Second-half substitute Ryan Fraser won a penalty for the home side, but Emre Can soon restored Liverpool’s two goal lead. And then, somehow, Bournemouth scored three times in the final 15 minutes, including a match-winner for Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake, who scored off of Loris Karius fumble to steal all the points away.
Liverpool missed a golden chance to keep pace with leading Chelsea, but Jurgen Klopp took defeat well and humbly shook hands all round in a respectable show of character for him and his team.
Middlesbrough and Hull City meet on Monday. The Tigers sit second to bottom and recently promoted Boro are only one point ahead, setting this match up to be a humdinger in the course of the relegation battle.
Let’s all laugh at Manchester United:
Everton vs Manchester United 1-1 Gary Neville says Mourinho let down by Fellaini pic.twitter.com/i7RUjSUVaz— Man Utd Videos ⚽️ (@ManUtdVines) December 4, 2016
The opening weekend of December has thus come and gone, and Chelsea are better off than before. Can’t ask for much more than that!